Hudson Bay Blanket History


The Hudson Bay Blanket is an historical item that actually fascinates me.

In fact, not only does it have its own history but it also has a background that has interested me for many decades. Eventually this item went on to become used for outerwear in addition to the original blankets. Foremost, this blanket and the clothing that came from it are part of my half century learning and sharing passion or my ikigai.
Hudson-Bay-Blanket with inset
Vintage Rare Hudson Bay 4 point blanket from with inset of 1936 ad for Mackinaw jacket
“The classic Hudson Bay Point blanket. This is a 4 point Beacon blanket. Has gold tag. Wonderful wool blanket with the iconic stripes. Blanket is in fantastic shape. No moth holes or big issues. There is one faint blemish as pictured. Otherwise in near perfect shape. Great for winter as these blankets are excellent and a great piece for the collector as these don’t come around too often in this shape.” Etsy

Hudson’s Bay point blanket from
Origin Paraphrased from The Canadian Encyclopedia: The first point blankets were created by French weavers who developed a “point system” — a way to specify the finished size of a blanket — sometime in the 17th century. (See also Weaving.)

The term “point,” in this case, originates from the French word empointer, which means “to make threaded stitches on cloth.” The points were simply a series of thin black lines on one of the corners of the blanket, which were used to identify the size of the blanket.

Even though the points on the blankets did not have an inherent value, merchants during the fur trade often priced point blankets according to the number of points on the blanket, with one point assigned for small blankets and four points designated for very large blankets.


Mackinaw Jacket When all hope failed that a shipment of military greatcoats would arrive from Britain, alternatives named Mackinaw jackets were made from these blankets. Their shorter length jacket was more fitting for travel between Montreal and Mackinaw with its deep snow drifts. In other words, two uses not just one came from the Hudson Bay point blankets. In addition, the Mackinaw jackets were of a superior quality to the British Greatcoats.
Trading with the Indians There is in fact a very controversial side to the story of trading with the Indians. Reference is made to it in the podcast above. It is not my intention to ignore this aspect of the history. But it is my preference to focus on the positive aspects of the Hudson Bay Blanket as an historical rather than politically motivated chronicle.

trading with the Indians “Pioneer at Fort Garry 1861” from The Point Blankets site

The section below Trading with the Indians is reprinted with permission from Harold Tichenor, author of The Point Blankets Site.

Sources & Resources*

Vintage RARE Hudson Bay 4 point Wool blanket With Gold Label
Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket – Origin
Hudson’s Bay point blanket – History
Woven Textiles from the Canadian Encyclopedia
THE BAY – Multistripe Point Blanket
The Remarkable History of the Hudson’s Bay Company
Who Made That Hudson’s Bay Blanket
Mackinaw Jackets
The Point Blankets Site

*The border at the top and bottom of this post is based on an earlier Hudson Bay Company brand.

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FASHION: Luxury Accessories



An Hermes scarf was one of the luxury accessories my mother brought back from her trip to Paris in 1964. Not only is it a luxury accessory but an Hermes scarf bought in 1964 is also a truly vintage item. In addition, it is in pristine condition. The scarf is from the Passementerie Silk Design Collection.
A Passementerie Silk Scarf that is now listed on the website

This design came in many color themes. Actually the one show above is in my favorite colors. But it is not the one my mother chose. Hers was in a gold passementerie (tassel) theme with a light blue border. You can see a picture of her scarf at the end of this post.


I was able to locate an article on the history of Hermes. It expresses the history better than I could. Therefore, I am paraphrasing it below.


One of the First Hermes Scarf Designs from 1937 Shows women playing a period game.
One of the first Hermes Scarf Designs from 1937 shows women playing a period game

‘The history of the Hermes scarves is a story of luxury. Even the name Hermes is synonymous with luxury—it really is the best of the best. The brand is known for its quality and desirability. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t wish she had a beautiful Birkin or Kelly holy-grail-of-a-handbag to hang from her arm (even though she may never admit it).

Almost equally as coveted as the famous Hermes scarf is that trademark orange flat box it comes in. As many of us know, the Hermes brand started as a harness and bridle workshop for horses in Paris in 1837. Thierry Hermes catered to the elite of Europe. Eventually the company expanded into other leather goods (handbags, clothing, etc.). The company continued to grow in popularity over the decades. It became a global powerhouse in the fashion world and continually expanding into different avenues of design. Even today, the company is family-owned, with no licensing deals, and no mass-production. Nearly everything they make is done right in France by experienced artisans who understand the importance of quality.’

Thierry Hermes – The Founder of the Luxury Brand Hermes

The history of the Hermes scarf dates back to the introduction of the first scarf in 1937. Its design was based on a woodblock drawing by Robert Dumas, who was a member of the Hermes family. The Hermes scarf designs were produced from start to finish. They bought the raw silk from China, spun it into yarn, wove it into fabric, and screen-printed it.

Hermes Scarf Design – Handmade in 18 months

‘Each scarf is still individually screen-printed, and designers (of which there are many) are able to choose from tens of thousands of colors for their designs. Think $400+ is too much to pay for a square of silk? Consider this: Once a Hermes scarf design is complete, artisans in the Hermes workshops located outside Lyon take over (some 750 people are employed there!). It takes about 18 months to produce a scarf from that point. The engravers alone take some six months to determine each scarf’s distinct colors (on average about 27). In addition, it takes about 750 hours to engrave the screens for printing (one screen for each color).’

The website that the Hermes Scarf History Section is based on


Today, Hermes scarves typically measure 90cm x 90cm (36 or so inches square), and are made from the silk of mulberry moth cocoons. Each edge is hand-rolled and hand-stitched (a great way to help determine if you’ve got a fake or genuine example), and I have read that one seamstress will roll and stitch only about seven scarves per day. (it’s about quality and craftsmanship, not quotas!) Two collections of silk scarves and two collections of cashmere/silk blend scarves are released each year (and sometimes reprints of old designs or limited editions are put out, as well).

The 2,000+ designs that have been made vary greatly, but many have equestrian motifs. We have seen the Hermes scarf everywhere—Princess Grace of Monaco used one as a sling for her broken arm in 1956. Emily Blunt’s character sent boxes and boxes of Hermes scarves flying into the air when she was (unfortunately) hit by a taxi in The Devil Wears Prada (apparently the devil also favors Hermes).

Queen Elizabeth is frequently photographed with a Hermes scarf covering her head (and a postage stamp featuring her wearing one of the famous scarves came out in the 1950s). Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn were fans, as are many contemporary celebrities and fashion icons. Need to know how to tie a Hermes scarf in different ways? There’s literally an app for that. I think owning a Hermes scarf is almost a rite of passage for anyone interested in fashion. We are in love with vintage printed Hermes scarves at Rice and Beans Vintage and always have a few in stock, so browse our selection of Vintage Hermes now and own a piece of history and art!

hermes scarf box
Hermès scarf and iconic orange box

Paraphrased article written by Heather Cox and Edited by Sarah Korsiak Cellier for Rice and Beans Vintage


The History of the Hermes Scarf
Top 3 Reasons We Love Vintage Hermes Scarves
The Hermes Scarf: History & Mystique Hardcover – July 15, 2010

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